Abilify, or aripiprazole, is an atypical antipsychotic that was first developed by Otsuka in Japan, and now marketed by Bristol-Myers Squibb in the United States. The FDA approved the drug in 2002 for the treatment of schizophrenia. It was later approved to treat bipolar disorder, major depression, Tourette’s syndrome, and autism. As of 2013, Abilify had annual sales of $7 billion.
In July of 2011, a study in The British Journal of Psychiatry linked pathological gambling to aripiprazole use. The study also noted that existing literature had observed other cases of developing or worsening obsessive disorder, including hypersexuality and excessive shopping.
Then in 2013, a study in Addictive Behaviors analyzed data from eight cases of Abilify users and pathological gambling. Researchers found a link between gambling in seven of the eight patients.
In May of 2016, the FDA released a Safety Communication warning about impulse-control problems associated with this drug. Pathological gambling was already listed as a reported side effect of Abilify, but the FDA required the drug label to be modified to include additional compulsive behaviors, including compulsive eating, shopping, and sexual actions. The FDA has received at least 184 reports of impulse-control disorders since Abilify was approved in 2002.